If you’re a Christian ministry, mission, humanitarian organization, even a for-profit corporation, your website is often the first interaction people have with your organization. It may be how people find you; learn about you; even introduce themselves to you by way of giving you their email address, filling out a form or giving online—even before they step foot through your doors or buy from you.
Knowing that your website is a like a front door to your ministry, is it time for a better website? If it’s been a while, it might be time to revamp your website. As new online security features become available, visitors’ online behavior changes, mobile accessibility increases, search engine algorithms change and website design in general improves, websites that were built even a few years ago are probably now outdated. Consider also that your organization’s branding, positioning, messaging and even offering may also have changed since your last website update.
If your organization is ready for a better website, here is a brief step-by-step guide for how to approach a ministry website redesign:
Step 1: Assess Organizational Goals and Objectives
- What is your organization trying to achieve?
- How are you trying to achieve it?
- What specific role does your website play in helping accomplish those goals? Objectives?
Step 2: Assess Key Audiences
- Who are you trying to reach? (May be different audiences)
- What are their challenges?
- What are they searching online for?
Step 3: Assess Value Proposition
- How do you solve your key audience(s) problem(s)?
- Why does your key audience(s) look to you vs any other organization?
- What do you offer that no other organization can?
- What is your organization’s positioning? Key messages? (Do you have this? Is this something you need to develop?)
Step 4: Assess Website Goals
- Why do you need a new website?
- What do you want visitors to do when they reach your website?
- How will doing that benefit visitors?
- How will it benefit your organization?
Step 5: Assess Current Website
- What do visitors do on your current website?
- How do they reach your website?
- Which pages do they visit most?
- Do they bounce away or spend time on your site?
- Do they take the actions you’ve asked them to take on your site now?
- Do they visit important goal pages?
- What’s not working or seems to be a broken process?
- What works well?
- What is your number #1 call to action? Is it effective? Does it need to change?
Step 6: Assess Website Content
- Based on your organizational goals, value proposition and website goals, what content do you need to create?
- Based on your audiences challenges and what they’re searching for online, what content do you need to create?
- What content have your PR / communications / social / content teams already created?
What needs to be edited? Created?
- Do you already have images, photography, video? Do you need to add sermons, media, events, livestreaming? What about tithe or donation options? Do you need to include your newsletter? Integrate social media?
Step 7: Assess Resources
- Who handles your website now?
- What specifically do they handle with regard to the website?
For example, do they handle any (or all) of the following?: backend updates, coding, host management, front-end updates, security, search engine optimization, writing content, handling the content management system, analytics reports, website marketing?
Step 8: Assess Design
- Do you have examples of websites whose designs you like? What is it about those websites’ designs do you like?
- Can you view those sites well across various mobile devices? Across browsers?
- Before picking a specific design, what is the journey you want visitors to take when they access your site from various pages? Can you sketch out this journey and subsequent sitemap?
Step 9: Assess Site Optimization
- How does your key audience(s) find your website now?
- Do they search specific keyword phrases in Google or Bing to get to your website? (For example: “sex trafficking rescue organizations”) What are those phrases? Do you have content built around those phrases?
- In your site and page structure, will your web designer handle SEO (search engine optimization), like site headings, mobile responsiveness, meta descriptions, Robots.txt files, sitemaps and so forth?
Step 10: Assess Marketing
- How do you plan to drive traffic to your website? Will you leverage PR/media relations, search engine marketing, content marketing, email marketing or other channels?
- Do your website marketing plans align with your overall marketing and communications plans?
- What does success look like?
Step 11: Assess Technology
- What technology integrations will your website need? (Do you use CRM (customer relationship management) software? Mobile messaging? Giving platforms? A shopping cart? Email marketing? Livestreaming? Sermons? Media?)
Step 12: Assess Web Hosts
- Who will host your website?
- How much bandwidth do they offer? Is it enough to handle your traffic?
- What kind of security do they offer? How do they prevent against potential attacks on your site?
- What kinds of backups do they offer?
- What level of technical support and customer service do they offer?
Step 13: Assess Measurement
- What does a successful website look like to you?
- How will you measure this?
- How will it help your organization accomplish its goals?
Step 14: Assess Budget
- What budget have you allocated for things like planning, designing, technology integrations, hosting, security, marketing, maintenance, updates?
Step 15: Assess Final Considerations
- What is your timeline for completing a website redesign?
- Who needs to be “in the know” about your progress? What’s the best way to communicate with them about it?
When trying to determine how to approach a ministry website redesign, don’t take your eye off the most important thing: providing your visitors with a really good website experience. People expect that the experience they have with your organization online will be the experience they get in person as well.
This 15-step process and our website redesign guide—a guide for you to use when creating a new website for your organization—should help you better understand how to approach a ministry website redesign.